Custom Bike - 6~8 weeks
Bike Repair - 1 week
Over the last few years, we've seen a trend for a number of people to order just a frame and fork. Some of these people already have a nice bike, but just want a new frame and fork that fits better, so they intend to move their parts from their current frame to the new frame. This approach can save some money.
The other frame/fork customer though, is still buying all new parts for their bike, but just not along with the frame/fork. Scouring the internet might make it look as if one could really save a bundle by building their bike this way. If this approach is for fun, then there is some value in it, but it is not really an effective way to save money. It may not look that way by just comparing 'grouppo' or 'kit' pricing to the cost of a full bike, but that's not the full story.
Now, realize that we're happy to sell someone just a frame....a frame and fork...a frame, fork and some parts...a frame and fork and a bunch of parts....a full bike with a few parts missing....or a full bike assembled and ready to ride. Any way you want it is fine with us. But, I thought you should consider a few things before making your choice.
As you read on, there are more technical terms. If you have a solid understanding of the terms, and are already familiar with the different sizes, specifications, compatibilities, and why they all exist, then you are a candidate for ordering all of your own parts and building your own bike. If not, you will inevitably save money to order the bike as a full, or nearly full bike.
This article works for just about any frame/fork combo, but let's look at our Rodriguez Rainier Pro as a comparison. This is one of our very popular models.
I can find a SRAM Force 22 group online for just $700 pretty easily. Add that to a Rodriguez OX Platinum race frame and carbon fork at $1,999 and looks like one could be riding a Rainier Pro with SRAM Force 22 for just $2,700.
Now, of course $2,700 assumes that you own all of the tools and posses the ability to assemble the bicycle yourself, or paying someone else to do it for you. How much would it cost to pay someone else? About $250 is the going rate. So what? That's only $2,950.....still well under the $3,900 of the full bike...right? Not exactly.
You've got to add wheels, tires, tubes and rim strips or you can't ride it. To get a decent set of wheels with rim strips, tires and tubes online the cost is about $600 ~ $700. That won't get you the 3-year warranty that we put on our wheels, but none-the-less, it is a set of wheels. Still, at $3,650 we're still under the $3,900 right?
Whoops, forgot the head set ($50), seat post ($30), stem ($40), seat ($50), handle bars ($40) and bar wrap ($17). $227 total. So, now we're at $3,877.00. I'm sure there are a few more small things, but you can just go the the local bike shop several times and pick them up.
So, it looks like we saved a little money (assuming there were no shipping charges for all of the mail order parts). Looks like a whopping $23. Of course, if there were shipping charges, then we busted our budget. But, even if there were no shipping charges, did we really save? Let's continue.
The SRAM brakes that came with the kit are not compatible with the Rainier. The Rainier is built to fit wider tires and fenders. So, we need a set of long reach brakes. That's about $55 online, so we'll get them on the way, and later we can try to sell the SRAM brakes to recoup that cost. At this point we're a little over the cost of just ordering the bike as a full bike. But, we must continue.
This has been a frequent frustration for the frame/fork only customer. Believe it or not, many of the new cranks do not adhere to long held standards in bicycle frame design, and do not have any flexibility for adjustment. For instance, if you requested the frame design to accomodate really wide tires, chances are that your new Force crank set will not even work on your new frame. The chain rings will hit the frame, and there's no adjustment in them. Many people think that this is a defect with the frame, but it is not. For the tire/frame/crank clearance to all work together, there are special considerations, and often a different crank set needs to be chosen. Our customers ordered just a frame with clearance for 35c tires were often discouraged to find out that the crank set they ordered will not work with tires that wide. For this reason, we often require your cranks to be present at the time of frame building. That way we can test fit them before we paint the bike.
In the case of a standard race bike, this is usually not a problem. Most of our customers want something a little more custom though, and some trial and error is required to really have a handle on all of the incompatibilities in the bike world.
OK, if you still want to order your parts, but maybe don't possess all of the expertise, we can help you. We will look at the parts you want to order, and help you select the appropriate sizes and configurations for a $150 consulting fee. Of course, this would be included for free if you were to decide to purchase your parts from us.
Can you save money if you buy the frame/fork and then hunt down all of the parts yourself? It's important to consider all of the above before deciding that, but for most people, the answer is no. One thing for sure though, you can certainly save time and frustration by ordering the whole bike.
Thanks for reading - Dan